Newark Public Library Focus on America’s Latino Cultures for El Día de Los Niños/El Día de Los Libros
Spanish will be the language of the day and children’s books will be its focus as The Newark Public Library celebrates El día de los niños/El día de los libros on April 28 with music and books, readings, and raffles.
Translated as Children’s Day/Book Day, it is traditionally celebrated on April 30 and was designed to promote reading and literacy for children of all backgrounds; with a strong focus on the Latino cultures of the United States.
"This is our first year celebrating El día de los niños/El día de los libros," said Library Director Wilma J. Grey. "We are holding this event on a Saturday and expect to have a festive and family centered day. Of course, everyone is also welcome to visit La Sala Hispanoamerican here at the Library to check out books in Spanish."
The Library celebrates El día de los niños/El día de los libros this year with crafts, games, stories and Spanish-language books for sale. Taky Llaqta, a Peruvian folk ensemble, will perform at 2 p.m.
The day’s festivities start at 10 a.m., with crafts in the fourth floor auditorium of the Main Branch of the Library, 5 Washington Street, Newark. There will be a workshop for parents by Carmen Rivera, a book distributor for Scholastic, who will address the topic of how parents can advocate for their children in the public school system. Rivera will also have a selection of books in Spanish available for sale.
"The carnival atmosphere of the day is designed to attract new users and new families to The Newark Public Library," said Ina Rimpau, one of the organization’s world languages librarians. "We want to make sure all our residents are aware that the Library is a resource that can help them achieve literacy regardless of what language they read in."
"The focus is on the younger generation, on beginning readers," Rimpau said. Youngsters and their parents can explore literacy through video games during two special computer workshops offered during the day.
"The games focus on pre-literacy skills; the difference between capital letters and small letters, skills preschoolers are starting to master," Rimpau said.
The special day was the brainchild of Mexican-American children’s author and poet Patricia Mora. On her website, Mora includes a short history of the day’s inception, writing that she remembers learning about the annual Mexican celebration on April 30th of El día del niño” (Children’s Day) during a 1996 interview for a University of Arizona public radio program.
"As a mom, I knew that children often ask, 'Why do we have Mother’s Day and Father’s Day and not Children’s Day?' As a reader, I wanted to foster 'bookjoy.' Ah, ha, I thought. What if we link a celebration of children with literacy, an issue central to the well-being of children?” she writes.
With support from the University faculty and staff and members of a national organization that promotes library and information services to the Spanish-speaking community, the plans to mark an El día de los niños/El día de los libros were born. The first celebration was held in 1997, and through efforts of the American Library Association, quickly spread across the United States.
The Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC), a division of the American Library Association (ALA), has named Target as the official 2007 national sponsor of El día de los niños/El día de los libros (Children’s Day/Book Day).
For more information about the program, please call Ina Rimpau at 973-733-3637.
©2007 The Newark Public Library